Friday, March 15, 2013

Tag Team Review: ARCHER & ARMSTRONG # 8


Written by Fred Van Lente
Art by Emanuela Lupacchino, Guillermo Ortega & Matt Milla

By Jeremias de Leon & Frankie Rodriguez

   Welcome to the very first  tag team review. Every month, there will be at least one review where more than 1 review it tackles the same book. Why? To get different perspective on things. For our first edition, Jeremias de Leon & Frankie Rodriguez (me) decide to examine another buddy book. Buddies reviewing a buddy book. Yep. Sit back and enjoy as we review Valiant's Archer & Armstrong # 8.


            J: In this issue, Stan Lee jumped into the Valiant Universe & said, “I am STAN LEE. I am nobody’s bitch. YOU … ARE . . . MINE.”

            F: Um … no he didn’t. But we did get a guest appearance from Bob Barker aka Oroochimaru.

            J: In the issue, Armstrong reminisce about  . . . “happier” days, before rudely interrupted by gunfire and a high speed chase.

            F: “Happier” days is right. Armstrong was doing his best James Franco impression from Pineapple Express! “Happier” days equals “HIGHER” days.

            J: As a kite, man. We also get to see the fruits of the Null's labor and why they're a credible threat. Also, one of the characters who doesn't even smoke weed has probably the best trip of all.

           F: Too true. The Null comes up with a new element called Zornium which can destroy the universe … or resurrect Lindsay Lohan’s career.

            J: Like casting a Phoenix Down on a zombie? We also see that mother nature seems rather... two faced. The Null doesn't seem to be ill equipped to fight Archer and Armstrong and their amazing friends either. They put in motion a plan most foul. I have to say this issue does great with suspense.

            F: 2 faced is putting it lightly. This Gaia looks like if Batista decided to to be a contestant in Rupaul's drag race why "reading" our new Geomancer. Meanwhile, we get an interesting Coup de grace from a certain female who is dressed saying "Hit Me Baby One More Time" ... and she does!

            J: Yeah, it seems she's either losing her mind, or isn't as benevolent as we all thought. It's a good thing we see that certain female. On account of the Null's plan, Her appearance might be a good thing. Yet again, I have to say it seems the writing is on the ball here because it's doing suspense right.

            F: Gilad is still a badass ... a stick in the mud but a badass. And our comic ends with ... dun dun dun ...

            J: Seems that plan of the Null will put a big strain on Archer and Armstrong's friendship. That's putting it lightly of course.


            F: You know, I have been following Emauela Lupacchino since X-Factor, and the art just keeps getting better and better. Teamed with Ortego, there is a lot of clean, thick links with good detail, with lots to look at in terms of characters and backgrounds.

            J: The colors are alright, everything that stands out should and the colors that are there for obvious story reasons like the "two faces" of Gaia are done properly and get the message across. What really sticks out to me is the way motion is drawn. Nothing is subtle but because of that you can believe they are really moving, fighting, jumping and shooting.

            F: From the kinetic action of being shot at while driving golf carts to an explosion ... blowing up near your arm, the book provides great amounts of stunning visuals.


            J: On to the writing. Fred Van Lente still keeps Armstrong's mouth and Archer is still as stoic as ever. The addition of the Geomancer and Eternal Warrior in these past few issues have been something. It seems as expected the Eternal Warrior has mellowed since his first appearance though he's still acting like he's got a severe case of Christian Bale-Batman-itis. Or maybe that's just how he sounded in my head. The Geomancer developed nicely as a character as well in this issue. She seems to have a backbone even calling out the two faced Gaia. The thing that happens at the ending is actually very interesting because of this character development, now that we know the characters. It'll be good to see their relationships be tested.

            F: Van Lente is masterful with the way how he works his characters  around the plot while still providing entertaining scenes. You think these scenes are nothing but character development but actually working it into the plot. There are a lot of endearing traits to Armstrong while being able to seeing why Gilad can get annoyed with him. The Null have turned into some creepy villains with the Last Enemy being even creepier than I could have imaged. I appauld the great character work. Like Jerry said, I LOVED the new Geomancer standing up to the spirit of the planet. And I like the subplots that are growing, which feel very organic. Fred Van Lente masterful pacing made this book so much better.  Excellent work on a book that is one of the best in the market.


            J: Well, now that we have all that said on the book only one thing is left, or two if you count our combined one, and that's our ratings. Verdict time! I give this a 9 out of 10.

            F: As for me, Van Lente provides one of the strongest narratives here with great art. I am getting emotionally invested in this book and look forward to its conclusion. I give this book a 8.5 out of 10.



            We really enjoyed the book. And while I (Frankie) gave it an 8.5, it is more due to the fact that I haven't been reading this book like Jerry has. So, with that in mind, we give it an average score of  9 arrows to the throat out of 10.

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